The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced on Friday, September 7th, that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
Lt. Cmdr. Edward J. Broms, Jr., 25, of Meadville, Pa., was buried on Sept. 7, in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C. On Aug. 1, 1968, Broms was the pilot of an A-4C Skyhawk aircraft that crashed while attacking enemy targets in Ha Tinh Province, North Vietnam. Three other U.S. pilots in the flight did not witness the crash, and search-and-rescue teams found no sign of the aircraft or Broms.
In 1993, a joint U.S/Socialist Republic of Vietnam team, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, traveled to Ha Tinh Province to interview villagers and analyze leads. As a result, the team found and surveyed the crash site locating aircraft wreckage and military equipment. In addition, a villager turned over human remains that his father found at the site in 1968. The remains could not be identified given the technology of the time. During an excavation of the site in 1995, a second joint team located more aircraft wreckage but no additional remains.
In 2011, given advances in DNA technology, the remains were reanalyzed. Scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory identified the remains as Broms, using circumstantial evidence and mitochondrial DNA — which matched that of his mother and sister.
Marin County will hold its first POW/MIA Recognition Day on Saturday, Sept. 15 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Marin Veterans Memorial Auditorium at San Rafael’s Civic Center. The event is free and open to the public, and is hosted by the Marin Alliance for the American Spirit (MAAS), a newly formed nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring active duty soldiers and veterans. Event co-sponsors include the Marin Co. Board of Supervisors and Patriot Beverage Company.
The program will include a tribute to all veterans, speakers, music, a military flyover and a free reception. Music will be provided by the Air National Guard Band of the West Coast led by Sgt. Dan Olivas and Sr. Airman Megan Hokaj of the USAF Band of the Golden West. Speakers include Lt. Col. Steve Countouriotis, US Army (Ret); CDR Larry Friese, US Marine Corp. (Ret); and Sascha Jansen, Vice Commander of the Bay Area Civilian Ex-POWs (BACEPOW).
In 1979, Congress passed a resolution authorizing National POW/MIA Recognition Day as a day for Americans to remember the nation’s prisoners of war (POWs) and soldiers who are missing in action (MIAs) as well as their families. The President each year proclaims National POW/MIA Recognition Day on the third Friday of September. Local events are organized by veterans across the county. The POW/MIA flag, which pictures the silhouette of a soldier with the slogan, “You Are Not Forgotten,” is flown to mark the day.
The Dept. of Defense puts the total of MIAs at 87,000 and 142,000 POWS – 17,000 of whom died while interned – since World War II.
Supporters of the Sept. 15th event include the Marin County United Veterans Council, Marin County Dept. of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Army- National Guard, the U.S. Coast Guard, Circle Bank, Military Officers Association of America, Blue Star Moms of Marin, the Novato Professional Firefighters Association, the Novato Fire Foundation/Novato Fire Chili Company, the House of Steel gym, Woodlands Market, Mollie Stone’s Markets, United Markets, Bay City Riders, Red Cross, Salvation Army, Terry Graham Marketing, DeNador & Associates and the Garbarino Family.
The nonprofit Marin Alliance for the American Spirit’s mission is to develop and present educational programs that foster patriotism and a sense of community, and to host events honoring active duty soldiers, veterans and their families.
For more information contact MAAS President Keith Woodcock at 1-800-438-8988. ###